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Western Ranch

We’ve all seen it driving down the highway on the west side of Syracuse shortly past the fairgrounds, those big red letters that read Motel, or at least, they would if that pesky O would just stay lit!

A blast from the past, the Western Ranch is one of Syracuse’s hidden gems.

I know I’ve thought to myself “I wonder what that’s all about,” and I bet you have too. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that below that sign lives one of Syracuse’s hidden gems. It’s called the Western Ranch Motor Inn and it’s unlike any place you’ve ever been, at least in the past several decades anyway! Let me explain. The Western Ranch Motor Inn is absolutely stuck in the past; and they intend to stay that way! The Western Ranch Motor Inn is a blast from the past, the décor is authentically retro and their menu is full of homemade comfort food. I don’t know how exactly they pull it off with this theme but they absolutely do! It’s the perfect mix of warm and inviting and interesting. The Western Ranch Motor Inn is conveniently located at 1255 State Fair Blvd in Syracuse with easy access from the fairgrounds, I-690, and the thruway.


Steak and veggies anyone?

When passing the Western Motor Ranch Inn or even when stopping by the restaurant you might think that this looks like something out of a movie. If you have had that thought let me assure you that you are absolutely right! The Wester Ranch has been used as the setting for not one but four movies! It was also used for filming a Nike commercial. Not only have famous people come to the Western Ranch Motor Inn to shoot movies, but celebrities have also been known to stay at the motel and enjoy a meal in the restaurant. The star studded list of patrons have included Jeff Goldblum, Whitney Houston, and the band members of Three Dog Night. In addition to their brush with fame I would submit that the food that they serve at the Inn should also be famous. This is because pretty much everything served is made in-house, using only the freshest ingredients available!

Check out our weekly specials on our To-Go menu!

Kyle and I arrived at the Western Ranch Motor Inn at 6 pm on March 16th, just hours before the statewide shut down on restaurants was scheduled to begin. At that moment our futures were very uncertain and we wondered what tomorrow would bring. We walked into the Western Ranch and immediately began to feel like we didn’t need to worry about the future, at least while we dined, because we had been instantenously stepped into a time vortex and taken to the past! The wood paneling, the cigarette machine, the pictures and posters were all from a different era. It was kitschy, nostalgic, and comforting; it was exactly what we needed. We were immediately greeted by our friendly hostess and server, Lyndsey, at a comfortable table in the dining room. We started our meal with two scrumptious appetizers, the chicken tenders and the stuffed jalapenos. These jalapenos were hand filled with a creamy chipotle cream cheese mixture and topped with crispy bacon strips; they were the perfect level of spiciness and absolutely delicious. The chicken tenders were out of this world. They are hand breaded and made to order, then they are fried to perfection. We had them served with buffalo sauce and blue cheese. When you go to the Western Ranch Motor Inn GET THE CHICKEN TENDERS! You can thank me later! For our entrees Kyle ordered the sirloin, served cowboy style and topped with loads of crushed garlic served with fresh green beans and red peppers and a side of salt potatoes. The steak was cooked to absolute perfection (I had to steal a bite or two!) and the garlic was the perfect accompaniment. The green beans were out of this world and the salt potatoes were the perfect reminder that summer is just around the corner! I ordered the broiled seafood feast; a huge piece of haddock, served with jumbo shrimp and sea scallops that were all perfectly broiled. It came with two sides, so I choose the French fries and a dish of homemade coleslaw. Every single bite of this dish was wonderful, especially since Lyndsey kindly gave me a bunch of extra lemon, just the way I like it! At this point we were stuffed and even had a few to go containers but we just couldn’t resist ordering dessert. Side note, pretty much everything is homemade at the Western Ranch Motor Inn, except dessert, which is made by Biscotti’s… and oh so good! We decided to skip our usual Biscotti’s favorite, the carrot cake, and I ordered a slice of heaven known as the chocolate Chambord cake, while Kyle opted for a traditional classic, a nice slice of blueberry pie. It was the perfect end to what is probably our last meal out for a while!

When you come to the Western Ranch Motor Inn you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. They also have specials each night like Fresh Mexican on Mondays, Cans and Clams on Wednesdays, and fish on Fridays! They also feature events like live music, darts, and trivia in the bar. Meals are available for takeout, just give them a call at (315) 457-9236 and be sure to stop in as soon as you can and see for yourself how fun and flavorful it is to be stuck in the past- on purpose!

Kerilyn Micale
Kerilyn E. Micale is a Cicero native.